Sonoma County grape growers celebrate first crush of season

SONOMA, Calif. (KGO) -- Just a little pomp and circumstance in Sonoma County, this morning, where they're marking August 15th as graduation day for the 2018 vintage.

Hence the toast, the bell ringing, and ritualistic pouring of champaign on the first of this year's new grapes. Yes, growers and winemakers do celebrate this significant day every year when the growing season symbolically concludes, and the first crush comes in.

At Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma County, the season's first picks arrived this morning and began the transformation from sugary juice to sparkling wine.

"This is going to be a big harvest with heavy grapes. A lot of yield," said Mike Crumly, who manages production. Barring late summer heat spikes, he says we may see 20 percent more grapes this year compared with last, but it won't impact consumer prices. That we do see more production has delayed the harvest, just a bit. "It has a heavier yield. Takes longer to sugar those grapes so there is more hang time is what it's called."

That would be a curiosity for those of us who vitaculture nuance.

A little detail from the first day of harvest, drowned out by bubbles, crushing and formalities.

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